Thursday 13 December 2018

If the universe is alive - what then?

If we accept that everything is alive and that reality consists of Beings (which is what we, apparently, all spontaneously believed as young children, and which all tribal nomads assert)...

If, that is, we go back to and re-accept the unconscious, built-in assumptions of Man - but this time in awareness and with our modern consciousness; various consequences are implied...

One is that modern Man is surrounded by Beings that he ignores; he is surrounded by living consciousnesses whose life and awareness he denies.

What might be the consequence? Well, in general, such an attitude from Men is likely to elicit unconscious anger, maybe resentment, from the surrounding Beings. At the least, they will provide some kind of reflex negative feedback, intended to resist and correct this materialistic attitude of understanding the near-universal assumption that (apart from humans, some humans) the world as dead, random, mechanical.

There would also be a neglect of many causes in Life; so that many things would happen apparently 'randomly' and without reason - things which, if we would acknowledge and recognise other Beings and their motivations, we might make-sense-of and predict.

Existentially, because of our assumptions, we suffer from an ineradicable disconnection between ourselves and our world; ourselves as alive and conscious and capable of relationships with other people - but everything else as just a background, a blank canvas, raw material to be interpreted and shaped and exploited...

A whole world to which indifference is the appropriate attitude; and from-which we expect indifference in return.   

Yet all such things could be addressed, life would be transformed from bottom to top; if again we were to acknowledge that which we already, spontaneously, deep-down know about the universe.

But we are contending with a lifetime of bad habits, and a pervasive and invasive culture of reality-denial.

Nonetheless, much can be done. 


DmL said...

Been working on a story. For a while I've been at a loss as to how to express the central conflict between the two cultures' true and deeply held religions, knowing I wanted a way for them to be able to reconcile. I think you've just given me the key here!

Chiu ChunLing said...

The universe itself is not alive. It contains life, and it permits life that doesn't kill itself, but it is indeed indifferent.

The thing to understand is that human life is essentially self-destructive, left to itself.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - No. This is metaphysics we are discussing: it is about fundamental assumptions.

We may assume either that the universe is alive, or not alive, or that it 'contains' some things that are alive and others that are not alive.

I am pointing-out that it is natural and spontaneous for Men to regard the universe as wholly alive; and there is nothing to contradict that assumption.

Modern Man has, of course, gradually come to assume the opposite. But that is just an assumption. Perhaps that assumption was necessary to the historical development of consciousness, but it never has been more than an assumption.